Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that despite its progress in tackling COVID-19, the crisis is not over yet and urged the people of the state to follow rules and ensure the lockdown is not re-imposed.
"In the last 15 days we have cautiously and gradually started reopening shops and offices, we have started local [train] services for essential staff in Mumbai and small shops and businesses in rural parts of the state, but the pandemic still looms over our heads. Just because we are slowly starting the economy doesn't mean the danger is averted. I request you to please step out only if you have necessary work," Mr Thackeray said.
Even if I am not using the term lockdown, do not misunderstand and lower your guard. In fact, we need to show more stringent discipline.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) June 28, 2020
Take care of senior citizens and children and leave home only if necessary. Even the youth must be careful.
"We cannot leave this war halfway in this final phase. The crisis is not over yet. I am sure that you will continue to co-operate with the government to ensure that the lockdown is not re-imposed," he said.
The Shiv Sena leader said the number of cases in Maharashtra may rise as the state resumes economic activity after a crippling three-month lockdown, but the state will follow the "Chase the Virus" strategy with increased testing and pre-emptive measures that has helped slow down the surge in Mumbai.
"Tests and testing centres are being increased. Rapid testing kits are being used to conduct tests," he said, also requesting those who have recovered to come forward and donate their blood plasma which contains antibodies that can help cure those who are fighting the disease.
Mr Thackeray said he also wanted to thank all religious communities for showing restraint during the lockdown that included several festivals.
"Soon Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated and I have asked the Ganesh Mandals to restrict the height of the idol to four feet. This will help in maintaining social distance as larger idols need more hands to move it," he said.
"This year, the Warkaris have also shown patience by celebrating the Wari on a low key. When I go to Pandharpur as your representative, I will pray to lord Vithoba to show his power to destroy Corona and ensure a disease-free world," he added.
"Similarly, I want to thank Dahi Handi Mandals, for cancelling Dahi Handi festival on their own volition," the Chief Minister said. Maharashtra, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in India, reported 5,318 new patients on Saturday, taking its count to nearly 1.6 lakh while the number of deaths climbed to 7,273 with 167 new fatalities.